Federal Judge Dismisses Right-Wing Voter Purge Lawsuit in Michigan

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge today tossed out a lawsuit from a right-wing “election integrity group,” the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), seeking to gain access to Michigan’s voter roll maintenance records for the purposes of purging allegedly ineligible voters from the state’s list of registrants. 

Back in November 2021, PILF filed a complaint against Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) alleging that the state does not conduct adequate maintenance of its voter rolls in contravention of the federal National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). 

The organization asserted that in failing to properly maintain the state’s voter lists, Benson impermissibly allowed tens of thousands of deceased voters to remain registered to vote. The group also argued that Benson’s rejection of its request to inspect voter list maintenance records and data constituted an additional NVRA violation.  

In today’s order, Biden-appointed Judge Jane Beckering wrote that “[a]fter conducting more than nine months of discovery into the many facets of Michigan’s program for the removal of deceased registrants, PILF has identified no genuine issue for trial regarding its claim that the program is not reasonable.” 

“The record demonstrates that deceased voters are removed from Michigan’s voter rolls on a regular and ongoing basis,” the order continues. Between 2019 to March 2023, Michigan canceled between 400,000 and 450,000 registrations because voters were deceased.

The court also held that because Benson indisputably provided PILF with all the list maintenance data it requested, the organization’s claim regarding Benson’s failure to produce certain records is moot.  

Similar “election integrity” lawsuits from PILF seeking voter records remain ongoing in other locations including Colorado and Washington D.C.

Read the opinion here.

Learn more about the case here.